Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Microsoft buys Linknedin for $26.2 billion

Just yesterday, I posted about the changes in social networking and the possible effects on the genealogical community. Today the news is filled with comments about the acquisition of by Microsoft for $26.2 billion. In the New York Times article on the announcement, there are several significant statements that are asserted as facts. Some of these are the same issues I was commenting on. is a social networking website utilized by many genealogists. The acquisition points out the fact that social networking is a business and a big business at that.

Some of the comments in the New York Times article raise some additional interesting issues. The article states, "...the traditional software business is shifting quickly to cloud computing, a model in which customers rent software and other services delivered over the internet." Genealogists are particularly involved in this issue. I have frequent discussions about where to put our genealogical data. Many genealogists have stopped using local, desktop based software in favor of keeping all of their data on one of the online options. The continued effect of this transition will be a further decline in the availability and utility of desktop software for genealogy.

The subscription model of software distribution is particularly attractive to large developers because it creates a predictable and constant stream of income. Using one of the large, online genealogy companies to host your family tree indicates that you have "bought into" the subscription model. Even if the website is "free" the move to online storage highlights the trend.

The article further makes this comment.
So valuable is the data that recruiters spend thousands of dollars a month to use it to fill job openings.
Your personal data that you put on LinkedIn and the other social networking websites is valuable enough to trigger a sale of this magnitude. What do you get in exchange for providing your data to the social networking companies? Essentially, you provide your data and they provide you with advertising.

Speaking of the relatively new chief executive of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, the article observes,
Mr. Nadella has further improved Microsoft’s image in the technology industry by being more open to partnerships with once-bitter tech rivals like He has accelerated the company’s shift from traditional software to cloud applications and services, and its stock has risen significantly under his leadership.
The article goes on to observe.
Mr. [Jeff] Weiner will remain chief executive of LinkedIn, which will operate as an independent brand, following the lead of other technology acquisitions like Google’s purchase of YouTube and Facebook’s buy of WhatsApp.
We were recently using a free independent calendaring program called Sunrise. The company was also purchased by Microsoft for $100 million and then shut down. We were then put in the position of having to find an adequate substitute.  So far, we have not found a substitute that worked as well. Most of the options, such as Microsoft Outlook, are now subscription-based.

If you get annoyed at having to pay a fee periodically to upgrade your software, think about what will happen when you have to pay a subscription fee just to have any software at all. Would you pay a monthly fee to be on Facebook? How many subscription-based genealogy programs would you buy?

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